Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 188

Rossel’s comments, while perhaps well intentioned, were not accurate. Not surprisingly, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov cited Yeltsin’s illness as further proof that the head of state should be removed. “Everyone is well aware of the fact that, for a long time, he has been unable to work,” Zyuganov told radio station Ekho Moskvy. “He works for two to three hours a day at best. The state he was in yesterday in Tashkent no longer makes anyone wonder. He cannot even inspect an honor guard properly” (Ekho Moskvy, October 13).

For their part, the heads of the State Duma’s commission for impeaching President Boris Yeltsin announced that the commission had agreed to a third article impeachment–Yeltsin’s responsibility for starting the war in Chechnya. Commission chairman Vadim Filimonov, a Communist deputy, and Yelena Mizulina, a member of the Yabloko faction, said the commission had decided not to charge Yeltsin with numerous premeditated murders during the war.

The commission had already approved two articles of impeachment against Yeltsin–for the 1991 agreement dissolving the Soviet Union, and for suppressing the October 1993 rebellion by the Soviet-era parliament. The commission has still to consider two more charges–destroying Russia’s army and defense potential, and “genocide” against the Russian people. Zyuganov said the majority of Duma deputies will not insist on considering these two charges (Russian agencies, October 12).

Meanwhile, Tamara Morshchakov, deputy head of Russia’s constitutional court, said that the constitution does not address the issue of holding a referendum on removing the president. Last week, Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev called for such a referendum. Morshchakov said that since it is not mentioned in the constitution, the constitutional court will not address it. Mikhail Mityukov, Yeltsin’s representative on the constitutional court, said a referendum to remove Yeltsin would violate the law “On referendums,” and thus violate the constitution, which says simply that the process for holding a referendum is defined by that law (Russian agencies, October 12).